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Friday August 12th

With elections coming up, Orange County launches voter education initiative

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As Orange County prepares for primary elections on May 8, the Orange County Board of Elections launched its voter-education campaign this week.

The Board of Elections will host its second voter education session on Tuesday, March 27 from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at the Passmore Senior Center in Hillsborough. 

The campaign is designed to inform Orange County residents about the election calendar, provide residents with sample ballots and register potential voters. The information session will also display district maps to inform residents about changes to district lines for the State House of Representatives.

Orange County Board of Elections Director Rachel Raper said she encourages voters to visit the Board of Elections website to educate themselves about the district changes, and to visit the candidates’ websites to learn more about the individuals running for office. 

“I always tell people to not be shy about contacting candidates and contacting your representatives and engage them to see how they feel about certain topics that are important to you,” Raper said. 

N.C. Rep. Graig Meyer, D-Orange, now represents North Carolina House District 50, which consists of Orange County and Caswell County. N.C. Rep. Verla Insko, D-Orange, represents House District 56, which under the new district lines consists primarily of Chapel Hill and Carrboro. 

Meyer said he thinks direct voter contact is the best way for candidates to connect with potential voters. 

“In a county as small as Orange, you can get to know those people who are running pretty easily and find out what they’re offering to do for the community and for you, and so I think having that direct voter contact is the most important thing,” Meyer said. 

The Board of Elections’ voter education campaign is especially important in non-presidential elections, Meyer said, because many people want to know why these local government positions matter and who the candidates are. 

“Even though there’s not going to be a president or governor on the ballot, there’s still a lot of things to vote for that have a very direct impact on your life,” Meyer said. 

To ensure ballot security, Raper said Orange County exclusively uses paper ballots, and voting information is never connected to the internet.

Raper said the competitiveness of local elections has made voting especially important in recent years.

“As we’ve seen in elections in the past, the margins are getting tighter and tighter so I can truly say that every single vote counts,” Raper said. "It has really come down to every single vote.”

Early voting in Orange County begins on April 19. 

@KarltonTate

city@dailytarheel.com 

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